SaaS LPR Startup OpenALPR Examined

By: Brian Karas, Published on Mar 22, 2016

A startup, OpenALPR has developed a freemium / open source LPR offering.

This report examines OpenALPR, based on an interview with their founder, examining tech details, 3rd party integration and contrast to Genetec cloud LPR.

* *******, *********** ********* * ******** / open ****** *** ********.

**** ****** ******** ********, ***** on ** ********* **** their *******, ********* **** details, *** ***** *********** and ******** ** ******* cloud ***.

[***************]

Computer ****** *******

******* ******* **** *** ********** ******** ****** ************ ** assist *** ***** **** applied *** **** ** license ***** ***********. ******** started ** ** **** source **** *******, **** **** bootstrapped *** ******* *** ***** a **** *******.

**** *******/********* ******** ** uncommon ** *** ******** industry, ****** ***** ****** in **** ********-******** ********.  Seeing **** **** ** startup ** *** ******** industry ** * **** sign *******.

Open ****** ***

******** ****** ** ********* ** ******. While **** ******** ********* use ** "****" *****, few ** ** *** as ** **** ****** source **** *********.  

**** ** ******** ***** ****, ***** ****** ************ *** OpenALPR **** ** **** of * *** *******, as **** ** *** new ******* ** **** licensed ***** *** ***-********** AGPL ***** (*** **** ******* *** details).  

********** *******

********** ******* **********:

  • $** $**/** *** * ******* that **** ** **-**** PC *** ********** ** conjunction **** * ***** component
  • $****/****** ***-**** ******* *** an *** **-**** *******.  

*** $**/** **** ** primarily ******** ** ***** that **** ** *** OpenALPR ** * ******** product.  **** **** ******** a ***-*** **** ***** users * ***** ********* with **********, ******, *** search ************:

********'* **** ***** ***** an ******** ** *** the ****** *** ** used:

*** $****/****** ******* ** primarily **** ** ********** that *** ******** ** app **  *** ** OpenALPR's ************* *** **** be ********* ***** *** dashboard *** ***** ************* or *********** ** ******* system.

 

[****** ******* ****]

******** ******** ** **** app *** **** *******, along **** * $**/***** plan **** ***** *** 60 **** ** *****/***** retention. **** ********** *** need *** * ***** server *** *******.

*** ***** **** *** been ******* ** $**/*****, and ******** * ***** server.

***** ** *** **** a **** **** *** the *****-***** ******** **** provides * **** ** data *********. 

Works **** *** ******

* ************** ** ******** ** their ******* ** **** **** any ***** ** *.*** stream, ******** *** ****** can *** ***** ***** images.  **** *** ****** the **** ** *** solutions ** ******** *** use ** ******* ***-*********** cameras. ************** ** *** a ******* ***** ** have ** ***** *****/****** across *** ********** ***** (this ***** ** * field ** **** ~**** wide ** * ***** camera).

********* ** ******** **** users ****** **** **** accuracy, **-*** **** ******** commercial ********.  ** **** not ****** ******** ** this **** *** ****** verify ***** ******.

****** ****** **** *** such ** *********** * high ******* ***** ** dealing **** ********** ***** exist, **** ** ***** can ** ********** ** using ** *** ******..  If *** ***** ********** are *** ***** ******** will **** ******* ******** or **** ** ******** the ***** ** ***.

*** *** ****** **** ***** ** their **** **** ** *** *** ** works **** * **** **** your ******.

Requires ***** *****

** **-**** "*****", ***** runs ** * ******** PC, ** ******** *** all OpenALPR ***********.  ** ******* of * ***-***** ***** NUC **** * ***** was *****, ***** ***** handle * ** * cameras *** ******* ****** up ** *****. ****** requirement **** **** ***** on *** ******/*** ***** used, ******* ******* ***** and ******* *******.  ** will *** ** *** total ****** **** ** have * ********* ** for ******* ***** **********.

Plate **** ********

******** ******** *** ********* information **** ***** *****:

  • ***** ******
  • ** *****
  • ********** ** ****
  • ******** ** ***** ** image

******** **** ********** ** States *** ***** ***********.  It *** **** **** from ***** ******, *** will *** ** **** to ******* ***** ******.  For ** ****** ********'* agent *** *** *** plate ****** ** **** with ********, **: ** a ***** **** *** format ***-***, ******** ***** know **** * **** of "***-***" *** **** zero **** - * S *, *** *** zero * * - **** S * *** *******.

*** ***** ***** ********'* agent ***** **** ******* characters *** **** ********** it *** **** ****** those ********** ** **** with ***** ******** ****** or ********.

Sales ********

********'* ******* ** ********* direct **** *** ********* (see****** *******) *** **** *** ** through ************ ** ***** security ********.  *********** **** want ** ***** *** solutions *** ******* *** product *** ************* **** a ********. **** ** the ******* ***** **** licensing *** ********** ** be **** ****** ** other ****.

Future *****

***** ** ******* ** date, ******** ***** ** raise ***** ** ****** the ******* *** **** a ******** **** **** the ******** *******. **** features, **** ** *** ability ** ******* ******* make/model **** **** ***** will ** ******** ** the **-**** ******* (**** feature ** ********* **** available **** *** ***** component), *** *** ************* will ** *****.

VMS ************

** ****** *** ************ are ****** ** **** time.  ******** *** * public ***, *** ** ***** not ** ********* ** feed **** **** * POS ********* *** * VMS, *** ***** ******* some ****** ***********.  ******** offers ******** *********** ******** for ****** ************.

Comparison To ******* ******

*******'* ****** ***** ******* *** * ******* price *****, ****** * slightly ********* ************.  ******* processes *** ** *** cloud. ***** ******** **** *** plate-processing ******, *** ***** plate ******** ** *** cloud *** *** ******.

**** *******, *** ***** PC **** *** ***** load ** ********** ******, however ****** ***** **** not ***** *********** **** other *****.

Comments (22)

This is exactly what the security industry needs. Outsiders disrupting the glacial pace of the big house trickle down engineering. Kudos to you sir!

This is exactly what the security industry needs. Outsiders disrupting the glacial pace...

Isn't there enough disruption already? ;)

Thank you for the good review.

It is great to have more solutions but I never understood what was the point to distinguish such kind of projects from the commercial alternatives? Access to the source code is doubtfully an advantage. They charge for their product and in order to use it you have to pay. Of course, there will be people who will or willing to work for free to create an open source end user solution but IMO it is insignificant part of the market. Moreover they have similar prices to the established vendors products. With the same price tag will you purchase ALPR from Genetec, ipConfigure or them just because you can see the source code?

One thing about this model that I personally like is that you could (as an integrator or manufacturer) set it up and test it on your own.

As an integrator, you might not have many customers that ask for LPR, but it would be good (IMO) to be familiar with a solution. For most of the alternatives you would have to pay out of your pocket, or ask for a discounted demo unit.

I like the idea of setting something like this up and just letting it run on a demo cam at my home or office. Watch how it works, see what environment I need to get the best results. Then when/if a customer asks me for an LPR solution I at least have one thing I am familiar with.

If you don't do many LPR jobs the price may be less of an issue. If you're doing a lot of LPR, then it might make sense to go with a "bigger" product, one that is likely to have more developers, more support staff, etc.

One of our customers in Toronto chose OpenAlpr over another US based LPR solution due to their free trial software and superior support. The integrator setup a system at their office and tested it under variable lighting conditions (day, night, rain etc) and with a few different camera models and optics choices. The solution they deployed required a custom integration with ICT's ProtegeGX access control system and IVT Vision VMS. Vehicle plates entering a parking facility would be logged along with the plate number of the vehicle, the user credential along with an image of the driver and an image of the actual vehicle.

I would strongly recommend OpenALPR.

So I have been playing around with it this afternoon (just the API/CLI) free version) its not bad. you do need to make sure everything is configured properly and have a really good angle on your camera for the best results.

I will say if you stream straight from the camera live stream I have only been able to get it to work off of MJPEG shots as it doesn't seem to support raw .h264/rtsp( which makes sense) but is kinda deceptive from the documentation.

I had it running on some old and busted desktop hardware and it seemed to run rather well considering. I am awfully interested in the GPU acceleration option as if it works you could cut down on hardware cost tremendously. sadly I dont have anything available to test it at the moment

I am awfully interested in the GPU acceleration option as if it works you could cut down on hardware cost tremendously. sadly I dont have anything available to test it at the moment

Do they have it? I did not find it on their web site.

At the consumer level, it's likely a small but not insignificant minority that respond well to this marketing approach.

At the developer level, there is an immense investment in learning and becoming effective within a system. Since a rising tide can lift all boats, this is less relevant within a strong and supportive vendor ecosystem. Eventually, if partners disappoint, a business' future can critically depend upon elements beyond their control. This is one reason for the attractiveness of an open infrastructure.

IPVM has a great breadth of scope, which brings us a relevant use case that resurfaced within a few hours of the question:

http://ipvm.com/reports/challenges-designing-a-law-enforcement-command-center

"The program included a contract for Microsoft to build a PSIM and datamining tool, which he says lacked the usability he would have preferred.

One of the main problems with the Microsoft system was the lack of customization and control. If the city wanted to add more data sources, it meant going through the vendor. There was no way to make changes and customize the software without calling the vendor back."

I wonder where they are today?

its in man pages on the Ubuntu version as an option. its has 3 options CPU , GPU, and something else. i think its part of the .conf configuration file.

yes it is its in the /etc/openalpr/openalpr.conf

one uses cpu, nvidia, and then opengpus

Please see the enhancements that are available in the commercial verison which includes multi-threaded processing: http://doc.openalpr.com/commercial.html

The open source /free version only supports MJPEG while the commercial version supports both MJPEG and H.264. The commercial OpenALPR Agent has a number of enhancements. With these enhancements, the commercial agent is significantly faster when analyzing video streams.

Additionally, there are a number of features that are available exclusively to commercial customers.

  • Multi-core processing
  • Efficient processing via motion detection
  • License plate grouping
  • High-accuracy US state recognition
  • Support for H264 video streams
  • On-Premises web server
  • Video file processing

so the free version will not process h264 video? stream or .h264 files?

The open source version only processes MJPEG streams.

then you have failed to keep your repos straight because the copy I got from github a while back lets me do everything but use the GUI and process live RTSP streams from the command line you might want to "take care" of that for future endeavors.

SimpleLPR worked better for me. The price was less, my application is working with up to 4 cameras on a server. It processes MJPEG streams. I can detect the license plate and send it to Genetec SC where I get it with a TCP server macro, and add as bookmark, or even I can parse a blacklist/whitelist text file for match and control relays, etc. If you dont need expensive highend solution then its a good low cost LPR for smaller or even mid-sized systems.

Does SimpleLPR process MJPEG streams? SimpleLPR's manual lists support for still image formats: JPEG, TIFF, PNG and BMP. Also, SimpleLPR does not support USA plates and H.264 video. As a forensic tool it would be somewhat useful but you can save $450 by using OpenALPR's open source for non-commercial use and accomplish the same results.

" it would not be difficult to feed data into a POS interface for a VMS"

Can you clarify what "POS" means in this instance?

This is better than some of the other cloud solutions I have seen which requires the camera to have Internet access, which isn't always the case. Having the agent run on a computer, be it the VMS computer or a separate one that has access to the camera network and also the Internet, is much more universal and flexible.

Many VMSes have the ability to take in a text feed that is associated with the video. Some layer the text over the video, some display it in a secondary viewing window, and some index the text and make it searchable.

The most common text source is from a Point Of Sale (POS) device, so that data about the transaction that was rung in by the cashier can be seen alongside the video. This helps loss prevention people spot cashiers ringing up "No Sale" or sweethearting stuff for their friends.

For this example, I am talking about having a camera feed into an OpenALPR instance to detect plates, and then having OpenALPR output the data it extracts from the image into the POS interface of a VMS. This would potentially make the video searchable for license plates that have come through.

Thanks. I was thinking of Point of Sale, but wasn't sure what Point of Sale would have to do with LPR. I get now the concept you were trying to convey.

OpenALPR introduced new Cloud Stream service plans, including a free plan and lowered the price of its monthly service. We have also introduced an Axis camera Agent and ALPR as a Service (no VMS, no server, no annual contract required). See http://www.openalpr.com/cloud-stream.html for details.

Thanks for the update, I edited the post to add that in.

And they now seem to have Milestone support.

http://doc.openalpr.com/on_premises.html#milestone-xprotect-plug-in

 

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Axis HD Analog Encoder Tested on Oct 11, 2019
Two years after declaring "Everything is IP", Axis has released their first HD analog encoder, the P7304, with support for AHD, CVI, TVI, and SD...
Network Optix NxWitness 4.0 Tested on Oct 10, 2019
Network Optix released Nx Witness 4.0, proclaiming new features like a deep learning analytics metadata SDK, increased H.265 support, and UX...
Crisis At China's Largest VMS Provider, Netposa, Now State-Controlled on Oct 07, 2019
NetPosa, which bills itself as the PRC's largest VMS provider, is in a crisis. The firm is pursuing huge unpaid bills from clients, and its...
'Bunker Busting' Wireless Access Startup: Sure-Fi Profile on Oct 03, 2019
An access startup is claiming its 'bunker busting' wireless Wiegand radios can punch through 'any obstruction'. We examine their offering,...
Vivotek 4K S-Series Camera Tested on Sep 30, 2019
Vivotek's highest-end S-series camera claims "Supreme Night Visibility", "Smart IR II", "Smart Stream II", "WDR Pro for unparalleled visibility in...
RealNetworks SAFR Facial Recognition Profile on Sep 25, 2019
RealNetworks entered the surveillance market by giving away their analytics to schools for free, and is now targeting large commercial users with...
Startup XNOR.ai, Inventors of YOLO, Video Surveillance Plans Examined on Sep 24, 2019
YOLO is arguably the most discussed and hyped computer vision model today. The inventors of YOLO have a startup named XNOR.ai that aims to bring...
Hikvision Acusense Analytics Tested on Sep 23, 2019
Hikvision touts "The Magic Behind It All" in their new Acusense line are 'deep learning algorithms' inside these cameras and recorders. But how...
Axis Perimeter Defender Improves, Yet Worse Than Dahua and Wyze on Sep 19, 2019
While Axis Perimeter Defender analytics improved from our 2018 testing, the market has improved much faster, with much less expensive offerings...
Directory of 70 Video Surveillance Startups on Sep 18, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Oct 17, 2019
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video surveillance company, ever, ranging from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters,...
Camera Calculator V3.1 Release Improves User Experience on Oct 17, 2019
IPVM has released a new version of our Camera Calculator, V3.1, with significant user experience improvements, a new development plan, and an...
Securing Access Control Installations Tutorial on Oct 17, 2019
The physical security of access control components is critical to ensuring that a facility is truly secure. Otherwise, the entire system can be...
Access Control Course Fall 2019 - Last Chance on Oct 17, 2019
Register Now - Fall 2019 Access Control Course. Thursday, October 17th is the last day to register. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access...
US DoD Comments on Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua Cyber Security Concerns on Oct 16, 2019
A senior DoD official said the US is "concerned" with the cybersecurity of Hikvision, Dahua, and Huawei due to "CCP" (China Communist Party)...
Pelco Sarix Pro3 Camera Tested on Oct 16, 2019
Pelco has released their Sarix Professional Series 3 cameras, claiming "more security detail in challenging scenes with excellent low light and...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Oct 16, 2019
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator. The guide below includes instructions, images, gifs, and videos demonstrating and explaining the...
Altronix Claims Tango 'Eliminates Electricians' on Oct 15, 2019
Power supply provider Altronix claims its new Tango power supply 'eliminates the need for an electrician, dedicated conduit and wire runs'. In...
Pelco CEO Out, New CEO Found on Oct 15, 2019
Just 2 months after Pelco was sold, Pelco's CEO is out, with Pelco bringing in an outside President and searching for a new CEO from the industry,...